This is an archived version of the PW Sources newsletter from Saturday, June 10. Sign up to receive PW Sources directly to your inbox here.


The farm bill, an omnibus package of legislation passed every five years, is due for reauthorization in September. Funds for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, are tied to the bill. 

In a 2019 article, MARION NESTLE charts the intertwined political history of the Farm Bill and SNAP.

From the text:

“SNAP may be critical to the health of participants, but it has always been subject to rules and funding set by congressional agriculture committees whose primary mandate is to promote agribusiness. This odd situation is attributable to to the program’s increasing integration into Farm Bills. Although Congress passed food stamp legislation in 1959, the program was not implemented until 1964, when President Lyndon B. Johnson orchestrated classic political ‘logrolling.’ Urban Democrats agreed to vote for wheat and cotton legislation only if rural Democrats would agree to vote for food stamps. As passed, the purpose of the Food Stamp Act of 1964 was to permit low-income households to ‘receive a greater share of the Nation’s food abundance.’ The act eliminated the surplus commodity requirement, excluded imported foods, and required participants to use the stamps only at qualified grocery stores at prevailing retail prices—a loss for farmers, but a win for retailers. After 1964, as the program grew in coverage and cost, Congress responded by introducing tighter eligibility standards, work requirements, penalties for nonworking participants, and measures to ensure accountability and prevent fraud. Congress also increasingly embedded food stamps in Farm Bills. The 1973 Farm Bill amended the 1964 Food Stamp Act, adding imported foods to the list of eligible items. The 1977 bill incorporated the entire Food Stamp Act as a separate title for ‘raising levels of nutrition among low-income households,’ and the 2008 bill renamed the program SNAP in view of its nutritional purpose and the replacement of stamps by EBT cards.” 

+  “The outlook for any future farm bill necessarily begins with the political climate for SNAP in the House, the Senate, and the White House.” By Jonathan Coppess. Link

+  “The 2023 fiscal year estimated SNAP spending is more than double the annual spending pre-COVID-19.” By Rosalie A. Peng. Link. And Jeehoon Han on SNAP work requirements. Link

+  “Food assistance programs, such as SNAP, operate on a scale large enough to influence the overall economic viability of full-service grocery retailers in low-income neighborhoods.” By Helen H. Jensen and Parke E. Wilde. Link


Brazilian labor markets

LARISSA da SILVA MARIONI is a senior economist at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research in London. In a recent paper, she examines under- and overeducation in Brazilian labor markets.

From the paper

“This paper examines the educational mismatch in a developing country and its effects on wage differentials. Using an employer-employee panel dataset for Brazil, I estimate the effect of under- and overeducation on workers’ wage. Moreover, I offer a first pass on the effects on aggregate wages by assessing the impact of correcting the mismatch. The results show that half of the Brazilian formal labour market is mismatched, with similar proportions of under- and overeducated workers. While overeducated workers suffer from a wage penalty, compared to their well-matched counterparts with the same educational level, undereducated workers receive a wage premium. The penalty for overeducation is half of the wage premium for going to university. That is, being overeducated only gives you half the wage premium for going to university and being undereducated only gives you half the wage premium for being in a job that requires going to university. Furthermore, I find that correcting the educational mismatch by reassigning workers into different jobs would increase aggregate wages, while switching their education would decrease aggregate wages.”

+ + +

+  “Beneath the smoke and mirrors of US politics, a central proposition of ESG is being contested: namely, that investors can simultaneously do good (support sustainability) and do well (achieve profitability).” New on PW, Claire Parfitt and Gareth Bryant on ESG and defining risk. Link

+  Watch a recording of this week’s Polycrisis panel on “the varieties of derisking,” featuring Skanda Amarnath, Melanie Brusseler, Daniela Gabor, Chirag Lala, and JW Mason. Link

+  In the New Yorker, Zachary Carter profiles Isabella Weber. Link. See Weber’s op-ed on strategic price controls and her paper on sellers’ inflation, co-authored with Evan Wasner. Linklink. And read Weber’s two essays for Phenomenal World, on WWII price controls and global trade hierarchies. Link and link

+  Suravee Nayak on a just transition in India’s coal fields. Link

+  Franco Galdini on land decollectivization and the “Uzbek model.” Link

+  “Ghana’s current bailout was necessitated by a combination of global shocks, as well as domestic factors, primarily a spending spree by the administration of President Nana Akufo-Addo that drove record levels of debt accumulation.” By Nana Ama Agyemang Asante. Link

+  Myriam Vander Stichele on how Shell’s shareholders have chosen to “sacrifice the energy transition.” Link

+  Nancy Folbre, Shawn Fremstad Pilar, and Gonalons-Pons offer an expansive view of care provision in the US. Link. And listen to an Odd Lots episode on broken care infrastructure. Link

+  “Perhaps the most important product of the Roma’s educational exclusion is their economic marginality. One of the main features of the ongoing economic transformations in eastern Europe is the trimming of the labor force, a process that particularly affects unskilled laborers. Because 70-80 percent of the Roma are unskilled and because of deep-rooted prejudices in personnel departments, the Roma are nearly always the first to be dismissed. As a result, Romani unemployment has skyrocketed and averages 60-70 percent across the region although in some areas it approaches 100 percent. While in some countries, especially in the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania, xenophobes have claimed that some Romas’ ostentatious lifestyles are supported by black marketing, wealthy Roma are extremely rare. The circle of inadequate education and economic exclusion is completed by crime. Since the revolutions of 1989 crime rates have risen precipitously and, to a large extent, the Roma have been blamed for this phenomenon.” By Zoltan D. Barany. Link

Each week we highlight research from a graduate student, postdoc, or early-career professor. Send us recommendations: editorial@jainfamilyinstitute.org

Subscribe to PW Sources